THE Deputy Leader of Oxford City Council has said she has been 'deselected' by the Labour Party.

Linda Smith is currently the Blackbird Leys ward member for Labour and is the deputy leader for the city council.

Deselection is when a candidate in a forthcoming election is rejected to stand for a certain political party.

In a tweet this afternoon she blamed her deselection on the Jeremy Corbyn-supporting political movement Momentum.

She said: "I've loved being city councillor for Blackbird Leys.

"Gutted to have been deselected this morning as part of an organised operation by Momentum."

Responding to her tweet the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party and shadow Culture Secretary Tom Watson blasted the decision.

He said: "Nihlism, pure and simple.

"Let me at least thank you for your service to this party and to your lifelong commitment to make the world a better place."

Labour MP for Hove and Portslade, Peter Kyle, also tweeted his support.

He said: "I’m so sorry Linda. Your dignity is intact, as opposed to those who seek to shut residents out of such an important decision for their community.

"I truly wish you the best for the future."

Leader of Oxfordshire County Council and Conservative Ian Hudspeth expressed shock.

He said: "I’m surprised by this decision. 

"We may not agree on politics however I do know you are a hard working local councillor and a good deputy Leader."

In a statement the Oxford branch of Momentum said it was 'surprised' by the 'false' claim and called on Linda Smith to apologise for her tweet.

The statement read: "Momentum Oxford understands that on Saturday 7 September 2019 Labour Party members in Blackbird Leys and Northfield Brook held a scheduled meeting to choose their candidates to contest these wards in the 2020 Oxford City Council elections.

"The selection of candidates is entirely a matter for local members and we trust that they made their choice based on the merits of the candidates who put themselves forward.

"While we fully support the democratic nature of this process and encourage all Labour Party members to participate in the activities of their local branch, at no point did Momentum Oxford express a preference as to which candidates should be chosen.

"Momentum Oxford is delighted to hear that four local members were selected from a diverse field to contest the Blackbird Leys and Northfield Brook wards.

"We take this opportunity to congratulate them and to wish them every success in their election campaigns. Commiserations to those who were unsuccessful on this occasion. They will naturally be disappointed.

"Councillor Linda Smith should retract her false allegation and apologise to the four successful Labour Party candidates."

Also responding to the controversy Oxford City Council leader Susan Brown said: “The selection of candidates by the Labour Party to stand for election to the City Council in 2020 is just starting in Oxford.

"New boundaries mean that we are having all out elections and all seats are being selected. 

“Councillor Linda Smith is a fantastic Deputy Leader and councillor and I am sure that the Labour Party and the city would not want to lose her expertise, experience and skills in advocating for her constituents.”

A councillor since she was elected in 2014 she is chairman of the council’s Housing Panel as well as the Blackbird Leys Adventure Playground.

She also sits on the Agnes Smith Advice Centre management committee, and is a member of the Leys Childrens Centre Advisory Group.

The next set of local elections in Oxford are due to be held in May 2020.